Community Psychiatric Centers
Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh

January 7, 2013

My Child Won’t Go To Sleep!!!

Written by Dr. Carosso

New Years Tradition

It’s a time-honored tradition to stay awake on New Year’s Eve to welcome the new year. However, now that New Years is over, it’s time to get our kids to sleep on-time, and ensure they stay asleep.

A Common Problem

Wish getting to sleep were that easy. Sleep issues are amazingly common for kiddo’s and adults alike; upwards of 40 million struggle with poor sleep, and it’s especially common for children with autism. The cause is often unknown; we often simply don’t know why some children can’t get to sleep, or stay asleep. Of course, at times we can pin-point triggers such as too much stimulation at bedtime, various anxieties, napping during the day, some children fighting sleep, or low melatonin levels. However, often the reason evades us.

The unlikely culprit, especially for kids

Sleep apnea affects upwards of 18 million people; mostly overweight men. In fact, we often associate sleep apnea with obesity. However, most people don’t know sleep disordered breathing is relatively common in children, and it has nothing to do with their weight. For example, in a recent study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics, it was found that upwards of 10% of all six year-olds have sleep-disordered breathing due to enlarged tonsils, crossbite, and convex facial profile.

Symptoms

Signs of disordered breathing range between mild snoring to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Interestingly, these difficulties can impact day-time behavior and contribute to hyperactivity, behavioral and learning problems, and compromised growth.

Get it checked-out

So, what’s the bottom line? If your child is having trouble with sleep, definitely have him or her checked for any facial, bite, or throat-related problems. Once that’s ruled out, then you can pursue behavioral strategies and/or over-the-counter remedies.

Pleasant dreams, and Happy New Year!!

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